Twitter is my Staffroom – but what is written in my Rule Book?

Last night I was wondering how I have developed a twitter PLN or PPLN (Powerful Personal Learning Network – refined by Bill Powersof about photo (1)1000 people and I think that it comes down simply to inspiration, connection, friendship and respect.

On the wekend I had followed another educator as their bio looked interesting and their twitter feed included some people that I interact with, she responded a few hours later with a message to myself and three others saying “Thanks for the follow @_____, @_______ and @_______”, to which one person replied ‘Your Welcome’ and I replied with a comment on something that she had been working on and a very interesting Hashtag that she had included in her Bio – there was no reply.  I found this interaction very interesting as it was not really an interaction, just a comment of thanks and a connotation that I should be grateful that I follow her. It has happened a few times in my twitter career and if they had just simply let me follow them without follow-back all would be good , but the thanks for the follow with no follow-back interaction has really made me reflect on how I view twitter.

So here it goes…

Twitter is my virtual Staffroom – I enter for professional development and I enter for friendship.  Like the a real school staff room, when you leave the conversation stops, but sometimes they carry over to the photocopier or cafe down the road.  This analogy helps me to comprehend that when I want to enter the staffroom I just click the App and when I don’t want to I do not click the app.  Sometimes I get sent a message from a friend or send a message to a friend and this is the photocopier chat.

I follow Educators – they do not need to follow me back and if you are an educator and you follow me, I will follow you.

Education is Global and Twitter is Global – I love the idea of having friends and colleagues over the globe as well as right here in New Zealand. While prepping on a Monday morning I enjoy watching the #LadyGeeks present via YouTube in a Google hangout projected onto the IWB.  Many a lunchtime I have chewed my sandwich and been inspired while partaking in different edchats like #TLAP – Teach Like a Pirate  or #CaEdChat. They are live, but the previous evening in the USA due to time difference.Screen Shot 2013-06-10 at 6.21.25 PM
In the evening my friends in Asia and Australia are in the mid afternoon and it is the morning for my friends in Europe. In my morning it is the evening for my friends in North America and when I am awake it is awake time for my friends in New Zealand. I can connect and interact at any time and have formed friendships globally. Southern California is now on my travel bucket list as there is a Mexican meal waiting for me.

I will reply – It may take me a little while and it may be a reply in the way of a favourite or a retweet, but I will reply.

I do Unfollow – to me it is those sacred four words of ‘Inspiration, Connection, Friendship and Respect’ that come into consideration when following or un-following. If you inspire me with your tweets and retweets and challenge me to do better or rethink my practice I will follow you intently. If you connect with me or I connect with you I will follow you. But, I unfollow instantly if you tweet mean and I unfollow if you bulk send me your blog postings – send them once each time you blog or twice if it is a goodie, but do not set your computer to push all blog posts every 6-12 hours as I do not follow you to be on a mailing list. Additionally, if I follow you and find you many weeks or months later in my following list and can not remember why I followed you and we have not connected then I will probably unfollow.

If I can help I will – if you know me, if I know you or if we have never met, I will assist you if I can.  That to me is the power of twitter.  If I know the answer to your problem or know who does know the solution I will assist and I know that the majority of us here do so as well.

I never Tweet what I would not want my employer or Nana to read – OK, sounds simple and many of us use the tagline ‘These tweets do not photorepresent the…” but if you write it, it is there, and if you can not justify why you wrote something then should you have written it?

I need to make sure I switch off – I tweet from my phone and use the twitter app. I only use Tweetdeck or the such for following hashtags or twitter chats and that is only sometimes. So, as my phone is in my pocket I am connected.  The magic fix is turn of cellular data and disconnect from wifi and instantly my smartphone is what we used to have… a cell phone.



14 thoughts on “Twitter is my Staffroom – but what is written in my Rule Book?

  1. I like these very common sense rules, of yours Luke. They are just like you—down to earth, friendly, and practical! Ever since I joined Twitter, I am more aware of the time zones of my friends in North America, Asia, Australia, and New Zealand. I think about whether they are getting up in the morning, teaching, or winding down for bed. It certainly is one huge staffroom that never sleeps. If you visit me in Switzerland, I’ll take you for a walk through the vineyards and some wine-sipping. If you visit me at home in Canada, I’ll take you to see the Rocky Mountains and an Alberta beef steak dinner. (I would like a nice lamb dinner for when I visit you in New Zealand 🙂 )

    1. Maybe it can be a progressive dinner as I enjoy all of those meals… Switzerland for lunch, Canada for Dinner and I’m sure we can trick a timezone and have a second dinner in NZ.
      🙂 Thanks Vivian

  2. I enjoyed and appreciated the thoughts you shared, Luke. I think we can all struggle with what the “rules” are… and with deciding which ones to personally use to help guide our participation and interaction in these online spaces.

    I once had something similar… re: thanks for the follow…but also “looking forward to learning with you” – yet I wasn’t followed back. It was a little confusing 🙂

    Thanks again.

    1. Yes, it is a little confusing, like being invited to a party where people don’t talk to you. I think that It really helped me by writing down my ‘Rules’ as it allowed me to truly re-assess how I view twitter.
      Thanks for your comments Sheila 🙂

  3. I always find it interesting to see the method people use to follow and unfollow others. I do agree that not replying to someone is pretty rude, but then I don’t have a ton of people tweeting me daily (unless I am actively engaged on Twitter at the time.) I also don’t like auto dm’s, they drive me crazy.

    Are you using a twitter client that allows for columns or lists? I have created specific lists that I read carefully, the firehose only gets read sometimes. That seems to work well for me.

    1. I think that when I head overseas in August I will have to begin using lists, as with the time difference I will be all out of wack for a while.
      The Why I unfollow part was the hardest part to write as I had to really think why I sometimes unfollow. The bulk computer generated posts that are sent every 6 hours and the mean comments are the easy un-follows to justify. The other un-follows are not so easy.
      Will, I really appreciate your comments as you are one of the educators on twitter who inspire me through your actions. #Comments4Kids is global action that has an amazingly positive effect every day.
      Thank you 🙂

  4. Hi Sheila and Luke

    That happened to me too and I didn’t find it confusing. The message was loud and clear (and a bit of a slap to the ego, too 🙂 The message was, “I have something to offer you but you don’t have anything to offer me.”

    It would have been better if there wasn’t a “welcome message” as I probably wouldn’t have realized the person wasn’t following me otherwise. The welcome message came as a direct message. So, I tried to direct message a reply but was told that the person wasn’t following me. Ah ha! The welcome message was undoing the good intentions the person had.

    Anyway, I still live by old-fashioned “rules” in a contemporary age with futuristic technology. I know that for some people, the rules of relationships are changing due to technology. They don’t feel that relationships have to be “two-way” in order to be at their best or authentic. I still think they do. So, needless to say, I get the most out of two-way Twitter relationships and I try to give back as if we were face2face. (That’s why I tried to reply right-away to the Direct Message.)

    There is joy in giving back. Really more joy in giving than in receiving! If the person isn’t following me, how can I give back?

    Progressive supper sounds great, Luke. Hmm…I am doing a Google Maps course: You just gave me a FAB idea that maybe I can do for my final project. If it works out, I’ll post back! hee hee.


      1. Hi Luke

        I made a world map of our “Progressive Supper”. Anyone can come by and add their own spot. (It’s just for fun, but don’t blame me if a million people come by Hawea Flats for lamb dinner 😉 )

        I didn’t submit this as my final project as the map is a bit too simple for the course. See my blog if you want to see what was my final project.

        HEY! I just saw on your blog that you’re heading to QINGDAO, China! That is so cool! I taught English for two summers in Qingdao (1989,1993) at the Ocean University of Qingdao. My students were all graduate students at the university taking the class for credit and hoping to pass their TOEFL to get admissions into an overseas university.

        I loved swimming in the sea there, but it was there were always a zillion people in the water. A bit scary. The sand on the beach was as coarse as gravel. The people and seafood were lovely. I remember my students teaching me to make jiaozi. Most of my students were actually older than me and treated me like their baby sister (typical Chinese behaviour towards those they care about). They were so good to me. Ahh..the memories.

        Have a great trip and I can’t wait to read about your upcoming adventures in China, here!


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